This week Microsoft unveiled its “next generation” console, the Xbox One. Microsoft took time on stage to highlight the key features that the One will ship with in the hopes of exciting not just gamers but everyone in the household about the possibility of what this device will bring for home entertainment. Hit the break for the key features and facts about Microsofts newest console.
The Xbox One is a true evolution of the Xbox 360, from the look, the enhanced dashboard, more tightly integrated entertainment features and upgraded Kinect. The platform itself has changed to an x86 platform instead of the older PowerPC platform that the last model ran, which means the system internals more closely resemble that of a powerful home computer, which is a good thing and a bad thing. The good part is that developers will have an easier time building, games, apps, and utilities for the Xbox One, the bad news is that since it’s a completely different architecture none of your Xbox 360 games (disc based, or Xbox Live titles) will run on the new system.
The tech specs of the new Xbox One are about where everyone anticipated they would be, there is a Blu-Ray drive for movies (and games) HDMI in and out, octa-core AMD Jaguar processor, 8GB of RAM, USB 3.0 ports, a 500GB HDD and internal WiFi Direct. The innards of the box match up very closely to the previously announced PS4 the only main difference is RAM type, where Sony has opted to go with GDDR5, Microsoft has gone with the older DDR3 which gives a slight advantage to Sony. Also the processor speeds in the Xbox One have yet to be confirmed but it is believed that the One will be a slightly slower clock speed than the PS4.
Microsoft has also made huge advancements in the Kinect sensor, which now is bundled with each console. The sensor has been updated to contain 250,000-pixel infrared depth sensor as well as a web cam. The microphone and voice control through the Kinect have been enhanced and now the new Kinect plays a much more integral role in the use of the Xbox. The camera is a 1080p sensor, and can process 2GB of data per second. They have greatly increased the number of reference points that the Kinect can track on a single person, and also increased the amount of simultaneous users that it can track to 6. The Kinect also recognizes the Xbox controller so developers can integrate “move-like” functions into games and increase the immersion experience. Microsoft showed off some rather impressive demos of what the new Kinect can do and it really looks like it is going to be a huge part of the platform moving forward instead of a fun addition like the current generation Kinect.
Microsoft spent a lot of time during the announcement of the Xbox One discussing the variety of features and functions that the new console will do for users, to clearly position the device as an entertainment solution, not just a gaming solution. While this approach may upset hardcore gamers, it opens up the door for Microsoft to grow and sustain the Xbox platform which for Microsoft is the ultimate goal.